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Law On Trial 2017: Religion On Trial - “Why Does Liberalism Find It So Hard...

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Birkbeck, University of London

Malet Street

London

WC1E 7HX

United Kingdom

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Monday 12th June - “Why Does Liberalism Find It So Hard To Cope With Religious Identity?” (Professor Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University)

Professor Akeel Bilgrami’s lecture will consider why liberal political and constitutional doctrine finds it so hard to cope with the concept of identity, in particular religious identity, as it surfaces in Politics. He will focus on Islamic identity and the case of free speech and blasphemy, as for example, in the aftermath in liberal democratic states of the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. The lecture, in constructing this argument, will seek to steer past the usual communitarian critiques of liberalism to more underlying considerations of practical reason and moral psychology and show their relevance to the most fundamental aspects of politics and the law. The lecture will argue that the most fundamental issues are not about community vs the individual but rather about the mentality of liberalism versus the mentality of identity politics, looking to questions of commitment both in constitutions and in deep religious commitments.

This is a free event, however booking is required.


Law On Trial 2017: Religion On Trial

The School of Law’s annual ‘Law On Trial’ event, a week-long programme of free to attend public lectures and panel discussions will this year focus on the theme of ‘Religion On Trial’. Running from Monday 12th to Friday 16th June 2017, the event brings together academic staff from around the world, recognised internationally as authorities in their field.

In light of various scholarly efforts (history, theology, sociology, hermeneutics) we are able to analyse what the experience of past years has allowed us to conclude regarding the dependence of power networks upon communitarian structures based on religion. Doubtlessly, religious evolution needs to be read autonomously. Even so, the new world-wide take-off of religion allows us to grasp:

• Longstanding South-North confrontations, the worldwide defeat of institutionalized socialism and the neoliberal exacerbation of global inequality, have generated an immense suck for plausible programs. Political principle has lost its credibility and is no longer able to channel such promises. How can religion found a new power politics?

• How can standard versions of liberalism be modified, put upside down, replaced, etc., in order to enable religious forms absent from its own genesis to find their place?

• Modernity, historically speaking, is the result of efforts in favour of dividing up that which makes sense inside of religion, from that which makes sense outside of religion. Modernity's religion does not include everything. Yet, on closer look, not all religious traditions sit equally well with such a divide. Friday’s lecture will discuss the relevant aspects of Christianism.

• An important percentage of the world’s population is born into one or the other forms of Islam. This gives rise to encounters with diverse issues, as they used to be flourishing, in non-Islamic cultures, outside of religion. By means of which concepts and operations does Islamic international economy function in international economy today? What is the state of the questions of Feminism and Gender studies in the Islamic world today? Two of our sessions will deal with these questions.

• The world of religions today includes an important number of non-standard religions. The case of the Rastafarians extends as far into the history of music as into that of religiously inspired spirituality. One of our sessions will be devoted to the Rastafarians.

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Birkbeck, University of London

Malet Street

London

WC1E 7HX

United Kingdom

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